Local Homeless Shelters Prepare For Extremely Cold Temperatures

As the bitter cold sets in across the metro, those helping our most needy residents are preparing to help those who need a place to stay warm.

Candace Gregory with the Open Door Mission says although their street team is always out, looking for those who need a place to stay, they're on heightened alert with Tuesday and Wednesday's frigid temps. "Our biggest tool of persuasion is our hot van. If they can get in there and get to warm up, our hope is that they will allow us to bring them to the Open Door Mission, at least during these cold temperatures."

Gregory says besides having their teams out where they know homeless populations congregate, she says other metro residents should also say something if they see something. "If they see someone that looks under-dressed or they see someone possibly talking to themselves, or under the influence, call our main hotline number. Ask for our men's staff on duty because we do go out in teams of two and we do talk to those people and do try to influence them to come in, at least for these next 48 hours."

In the last few days, Gregory says cities like Chicago have seen dozens of deaths due to the extreme cold and they want to try to prevent that from happening on Omaha-metro streets. "We are at our homeless camps, as well as areas that we know that those that are on our streets congregate. We are trying to persuade them to come in from the elements." Donations are desperately needed at the mission as they've seen a 40% increase in those seeking help compared to this time last year.

If you see someone who may need shelter from the cold, call the Mission's hotline at 402-422-1111. To make a donation to the Mission's cause, click here .

Due to an increase in the number of men and women seeking shelter, The Siena-Francis house has been giving out a lot of cold weather items that have been donated and more are needed. Spokesman Tim Sully says they have a few “critical” needs:

·Winter coats

·Gloves

·Boots

·Men’s underwear sizes small to XL

·Twin blankets

·Twin sheet sets

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